Konstantinov is a Badass
I mean, it just goes without saying at this point, but this guy is spectacular.
For those of you not aware, I’m talking about Latvian powerlifter Konstantin Konstantinovs. Why is he awesome, you ask?
That’s 954 lbs for a triple, in a belt only. Yeah the plates are on 6-inch boxes. That shouldn’t matter, but you’re not a believer. OK:
That’s 837 lbs for 4 reps and 939 lbs for a single, both raw – and I mean real 100% raw, because he doesn’t even have a belt on. Holy shit. I just about passed out from that much badass in one spot. I love his videos for all the Latvian yelling, which reminds me of Rocky IV, only this time you want the Russian to win.
The best part? He’s a 275er, and at only 30 years old, I’d bet money that he’s going to break the 1000 lb barrier before he’s done. That’s no mean feat, considering that only two men alive have come remotely close to that, Gary Frank and Andy Bolton, and they’re both SHWs.
Konstantinovs is no one-lift pony, either. He’s benched 551 lbs and squatted 727 lbs, both lifts also completely raw (although to be fair, he did at least put on a belt and medical knee-wraps for the squat). He’s just spectacular any way you look at it.
The other thing about the K-man (that’s my clever Internet name, which sounds pretty lame now that I think about it) is his unique form in the deadlift. If you’ll notice, he pulls with a hunchback. His lower back is fairly neutral, as all the experts say it should be, but his upper back is rounding like hell.
This has set a fire under all manner of Internet form nazis, because we all know it’s not Real StrengthTM unless it’s done with absolutely 100% textbook form. Just imagine all the poor physiotherapists and Certified Personal Trainers that are in tears right now because of this round-backing. He really needs to back off to a more reasonable weight, around 135 lbs, and iron out these form errors so he can really be strong one day.
Now that the form-wankers are appeased, I have to admit that I’ve been playing around with this style the last two months during preparation for our upcoming meet. And to be blunt about it, I’m sold. When the weight gets heavy enough, I tend to default to high-hips stiff-leg pulling anyway, along with inevitable lower-back rounding. I could get all worked up over it, but my thought process over the years has been that my body wants to be in that position for a max deadlift, so why fight it?
What I’ve noticed with the hunch-backing method is that it tends to exploit this high-hip starting position and slightly reduces the ROM of the lift – the result is that I can bring more glutes and hamstrings into the lift. I’ve noticed that my starting position is a lot stronger; the bar has more snap off the floor, versus my original style which resembles a clean-style deadlift. I’m convinced that I was wasting a lot of movement by being in a sub-optimal position. In any case, I’m going to pull with this approach in this meet to confirm my suspicions, and then go from there. Who knows, maybe it will help me finally break that 600 lb goal of mine.